Monday, February 6, 2012

Eastern Europe: A Bastion of Freedom and Democracy?

In case you haven't heard yet, while the US public has worrying about SOPA and PIPA, Europe started dealing with their own version, called ACTA. While some were allegedly taken by surprise by the massive protests against SOPA and PIPA, everyone's pretty much used to American's protesting things. But would you be surprised to hear about anti-ACTA demonstrations in Prague? Or Czech members of parliament refusing to support it "as a matter of principle", and claiming that the media "played a part in the hush-up"[1]? A Slovenian ambassador even made a public apology for having signed the agreement, claiming that she acted carelessly and in ignorance and failed in her civic duty[2]. That is a level of candor that we never expect to hear from a US politician. Admitting ignorance as the Slovenian ambassador did is the first step towards gaining wisdom. But unfortunately, admitting ignorance is socially unnacceptable around here. Everybody knows, tacitly, that no one person can possibly be an expert on everything that they would need to know to decide every issue that faces the government. We'll start to make progress a lot faster when we can get around to no longer being embarrassed by that fact.